Emerging Technology Analyst at University Information Technology Services
By Sarah Hunker
Nitocris Perez is an Emerging Technology Analyst at University Information Technology Services. In this role, she wears many hats. She was originally tasked with bringing in new technologies to IU to test out and determine how they may benefit both the tech world and the IU community. She would host events for individuals to interact with the new items put out by tech companies. “I designed and implemented a tech petting zoo, so what I would do is look for new technologies that were unique because there such a huge amount of new stuff coming out all the time… I would get them all out and sort them up so that people can try and experience them,” she says.
However, her role has changed recently. “My position has kind of evolved over the past year, because I moved departments, so there was a little bit of reorganization. Right now I do (more) IT outreach and other side projects and a less of the emerging technology,” she says. For example, she works for IT Community Partnerships where she ensures IT department staff have access to the IT resources they need to support their department.
Additionally, she is the program administrator for the Wombat Phishing Education and Training service at phishing.iu.edu, a service offered in contract with Wombat Security to combat the phishing at IU.
And, she is also a member of the Wearable Technology Working Group and has worked with students to develop tech in new ways that are appealing to women. “Last year when the committee was first formed, I spearheaded a project to have design students develop their own wearable tech in the fashion design department, but I feel like the biggest problem with wearable tech is that there are not enough women in technology for starters," she says. “We [women] buy stuff, but it’s not designed for and by us a lot of the time.”
As part of the Warable Technology Working Group, she meets with faculty to discuss projects with Emerging Technology. One example of her work in this area is a partnership with IU faculty member Olga Scrivner, whom she met at a CEWiT tabling event, to create a more immersive language experience for students. They have worked together to show faculty the possibilities for incorporating virtual and augmented reality into teaching and learning in the classroom. The project incorporates student use of virtual reality to interact with people in a different country. “We got to thinking about how you learn language better when you are immersed in that environment,” Perez says. “So we were saying that it’d be fun to create a virtual environment to test the hypothesis that students will be able to learn language in a different or even better way without traveling to a different country.” Currently, they are looking into other IU faculty members traveling to different countries to film for their project. They will be presenting their work at the Future Technologies Conference in San Francisco on December 7th, 2016.
When it comes to getting more women involved in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, Perez says she still is seeing the vacancy of women in these fields today. “Just the types of advancements that we are seeing are very male oriented, so even products designed for women are designed by men… I think we would see a lot of advancements if more women were involved, more problems would be solved,” she says. “Tech jobs pay really well compared to other jobs, and there’s an absence of qualified people to do tech jobs, so it seems like a really simple solution to get more women involved.”